Recall for us, please, that day when you realized your purpose in this life. What influenced this? What kind of people? Who was near you then?
Understanding of my own purpose came not in one instant and, perhaps, I have not even realized it yet.
At school, the works of Pushkin and Lermontov made a huge impression on me; I learnt by heart the longest poems, marvelling at the beauty of words and rhythm, dreaming of that the beauty of this style would live inside me, helping to preserve the poetic mood of my soul. The book In the World of Wise Thoughts to some extent replaced my parents — my father died when I was three years old, then my mother went from my life. My grandmother raised me, but she died, too.
The need to be necessary to someone led to a marriage. But, having remained alone with two children, already by 1985 I realized that the way I lived before I could not live any longer. I wanted to become free from the gravity accumulated in my soul. A huge need for Love and Beauty arose, which people usually receive from their parents and beloved ones, but I did not get the full amount of these in childhood… I wanted to help the same unfortunate people, to support them, to raise hope in them for a better future, and I began to wonder how I could escape this series of losses. In my mind I was uttering the poems memorized in childhood, and later I had an anticipation that I would write, although it was strange to realize that I would be able to write… When a woman is pregnant, she feels that she is about to give birth. I had a similar feeling ‒ that I was bearing something that must be “born” soon… And during the last three days before I started to write, I kept a pen and piece of paper next to me day and night. Maybe I saw my salvation in this, as well as for my sons, who were near me.
When were the first lines of your books born?
27 October 1992: On this day were born the first lines, and I recorded the “Parable of a Celestial Warrior.” Its point is that the Celestial Warrior comes to Earth to help people, to bring them Love. But people do not understand him. They kill him, and his soul returns to Heaven. And all the time he looks at Earth with only one thought: “To come and triumph by Love.” I was writing this parable during the whole day… I had a feeling that I was like a seed, like a little sprout, breaking through; and it was necessary to pass through a layer of asphalt to flourish somewhere above. It was very difficult to write… And when I finished the last phrase, when I wrote “To come and triumph by Love,” I understood it would become the motto of my life. That is how the first work saw the light, and I would say that it was born under the influence of an enormous internal need. And by 1997, my first book [Brotherhood. Supermundane Abode] was published.
I have two of your books. But, honestly speaking, not everything is clear for me. And maybe I need not understand, but simply feel that warmth is pouring through me from reading them?
It is true that it is not really necessary to understand everything. When we buy a medicine in the pharmacy, we often do not understand its composition, chemical formula, etc. Only its effect is important to us. Likewise, I would put my books into the Pharmacy of Life (if there were one), because all the works are addressed to hearts and souls, which are covered with wounds, mutilated by the heavy inhuman burden that is often laid on the shoulders of an ordinary person.
I have often encountered books that were correct from the perspective of literary construction, but there was no warmth. From personal experience, I will say that whatever age we are, each of us needs a particle of compassion, understanding, warmth, and light. And is this not the reason why criminals emerge — people who have had very little love, or even no love at all? Preserving one’s own sprout of Light takes a lot of courage; it is important not to respond to the evil they show in response to our kindness. And how to do this? The answer can be found in books, surely — not only mine, but also in those in which the author speaks heart to heart, and, eventually, a dialogue with the reader occurs at the level of soul, leaving the warmth and anticipation of a better future.
In your poems words are strung like beads. Not everyone can do this. But you succeed. How? What does one need to create a work? Great knowledge, wisdom, or something else?
The most difficult thing is simplicity. I have always tried to express my thoughts as simply as possible. For me, not rhyme but rhythm is above all, and when I retain it within myself, lines themselves are strung like beads. As a whole, the work is composed according to the idea that originally inspired it. For example, once when I was cooking, I suddenly felt anxious: for some reason I had the image of our Afghan war veteran in a wheelchair, attempting to commit suicide. I rushed out of the kitchen into the room, grabbed paper and a pen and, retaining the image of the former soldier, began to write for the purpose of sending some creative, life-affirming force towards that young man who had been hurt in the war. Thus appeared the first Lesson — the “Lesson of Love.” Others followed, when images manifested of a woman who had abandoned her child, or of a girl who had given birth without a husband and devoted her life to her darling creature, and so on.
It may be that, at times, I felt someone’s pain or despair that had permeated the surrounding space. By the way, one soldier wrote me a letter saying that he wanted to commit suicide, but he came across my book [Leaves of Maitreya’s Garden]… He opened it and did not understand the text, but he realized one thing: this book had saved his life. The text was indeed difficult to understand, since an ancient Eastern philosophy underlies it. And again, this letter gave me determination; it served as a push to create a new book. For example, the book Angel with a Broken Wing was born as a result of the stress you may experience when facing non-love. When non-love is demonstrated in response to your love, it is hard to preserve spiritual peace and tranquillity.
Does one need great knowledge? Perhaps, but here I will agree with the famous phrase: “All I know is that I know nothing.” Indeed, the more knowledge you receive, the more you realize that you know simply nothing. The world is full of great, undiscovered mysteries, and we, people, just begin to comprehend them. Of course, some basic knowledge is required, but wisdom is knowledge plus love. And perhaps wisdom may mark only those who have kind, open hearts — it is their creations that will be more lasting.
It is no secret that in recent years that people’s personal connections are being lost. How do you treat your family, your ancestors? I would like you tell us more about your family.
My father was a very kind and wise man. He died in 1957, having lived only three decades. When I come to Congaz [Moldova], I meet people who remember him as a very handsome, just, practical person; many of them knew him through his work on a collective farm, where he was chief accountant. And I am always so pleased to hear the good comments about him. My father’s love is like a treasure that has remained with me throughout my life.
My mother was born in Chuvashia [Russia] and then she came to work as a land surveyor in a Gagauz village [Moldova], where she married my father.
Basically, my grandmother Zinovya Vasilyevna Dushkova raised me. I was named after her. She baptized me secretly, because my father was a communist. My grandmother taught me poems and prayers, and, what is the most strange, some of them were in Greek and Latin. Where an illiterate Gagauz woman could learn them from remains a mystery to me! Perhaps these poems and prayers were inherited from her parents? Grandmother used to say that, in their family, there was a very beautiful woman, who at the age of sixteen was taken from Greece by a man who had participated in the Russo-Turkish war. Nevertheless, the name Zinovya in Greek means “divine wisdom.” My grandmother was indeed a wise woman; it was she who instilled in me the lightest and kindest gifts, together with her boundless love. She passed away in 1964. Father and grandmother for me were the embodiment of angelic beings, and therefore I always feel their living presence. Thanks to them, I have been proud since childhood to be a Gagauz. And I was also proud of my grandmother’s brother, Vasily Vasilyevich Arnautov, who worked at the Embassy of India. He was a scientist as well; together with the academician Nikolai Vavilov, he received the Stalin Prize. My mother’s sister, Aunt Sima, a head librarian, showed me the book Potatoes. My uncle bred a new variety of potato, which was named “Arnaut.” One of my maternal grandmother’s brothers was also a diplomat in Mongolia and Bessarabia, and another brother of my grandmother Darya was an artist, who worked in the Hermitage.
What do you love in life? What do you value above all? What does your soul not accept?
Most of all, I love it when soulmates meet each other and they understand each other, not only by the merest hint, but also by the merest glance. Above all, I value Love. The only thing my soul does not accept is non-love.
You travel mostly across the East. Why there? What is a trip for you?
As I said, my grandmother’s brother worked at the Embassy of India, from where he would often send parcels with sweets and beautiful dresses. And for me, the little girl living in the Gagauz village, India seemed like a magical country. I would dream that I would go there when I grew up. By the way, when I was just eleven months old, my parents together with my grandmother went to Moscow, where father shared his dreams about me with my uncle. He dreamed I would become a diplomat, and live in Moscow. You could say his dream has come true to some extent. I live in Moscow, periodically communicating with diplomats, visiting different countries. As a historian, philosopher, and Orientalist, most of all I studied the monuments of Eastern thought, ancient treatises, philosophical, and religious works. This, perhaps, has left its imprint on my creativity. And the language of my books, possibly, belongs to the category of poetic prose, as it is common in the Orient. Even my poems I do not call poetry — this is prose, underlain by the progressive rhythm. The desire to visit the East has grown out of my childhood dreams.
In the past five years, I have started to visit more Western countries — France in particular , where my books are translated and published, as well as Germany in connection with my research activity, since I am a fellow of both the European Scientific Society and the European Academy of Natural Sciences. Any trip for me is labour, cognition, probation, overcoming myself, inner growth, and comprehension of new facets of life. Most often, I try to get into remote places, to visit monasteries, where the most ancient manuscripts are. The representatives of different nations generously share their knowledge with me, and all my experience of communication, cognition, and illumination I transfer to the pages of new books.
Which source do you derive strength from?
Most often I derive strength from my own strengthlessness, if one can express it so. And when I lose heart, the soul is torn by pain and despair. I sit down in front of a blank sheet of paper and begin to compose lines, transforming negative into positive. And faith, hope, and love, abiding inside me, help me in this; sometimes, however, they need to be revived too, because when facing anger and aggression in life, it is hard to keep the light-bearing bar at the proper height. Sometimes it is necessary to literally grit my teeth and repeat: “Joy! Joy!” And of course, when there is a good response from readers and I see the eyes full of ineffable gratitude, this gives me wings, and I am, as they say, just about ready to move mountains!
Your books bear the Light. However, probably, you first have to put this Light into them. Where does so much light, goodness, and love come from? It is even tangible in the book titles. How are the titles born?
Before I started to write books, I had spent a lot of time studying various scientific, historical, and philosophical texts, including those related to the Sacred. For several years I studied the lives of saints and their legacy. It is no secret that an author distils their own mood and energy into a text. Therefore, the most light-bearing books are the works of those who have devoted their life to serving humanity. So, I wanted to bring forth not “short-lived butterflies” in the form of books, which after being read fill dustbins, but such books that the person would want to press them to their heart and bequeath them to their children and grandchildren. Most commonly, I imagine my family and friends and the reaction I would like to see in their eyes after reading the books, and therefore I endeavour to put in as much light and warmth as possible.
Probably, I was endowed with these qualities by my loving father, my grandmother, my little motherland. Infused with the sun, the land with orderly rows of vineyards has always appeared before my eyes, not allowing me to feel like an orphan. And in my writings, the theme of a grapevine very often echoes.
The birth of every book is a kind of mystery, and even more mystery is the birth of its title. Mostly, like a light cloud in the sky, a thought of a new book appears and along with it comes a title, which I call a “working title,” although, as a rule, it remains. Together with the title arises the feeling of joy, the emotional influx and the desire to immediately immerse myself in work. It is difficult for me to make up something, and therefore I defer to my soul, my heart… And thanks to listening to them, I write without drafts and, as a rule, do not polish those pearls which are strung in the form of lines.
Reveal the secret: how in the present world do you succeed in being so radiant and shining for other people?
When I was small, I invented a sort of game. If someone did not behave the way I wanted, I would try to get under the skin of that person and look at me through their eyes. And I would think about whether their expectations of me were justified. Another one — is before you! This idea helps to strike the light and shine it where people are in need of simple understanding and human warmth. For me, everyone is a small universe with unique rules and laws.
Recently, best of all, a thought has helped me, which emerges as a sort of parable. An old man and old woman go to a monk. The old man says: “Judge between us, sage. I saw a coin on the road first, so it is mine.” The monk responds: “You are right.” The old woman says: “I was the first to pick it up, so it is mine.” The monk responds: “You are right.” A disciple comes and says: “Teacher, it cannot be!” To which the sage replies: “You are right too!” So, from that I take that every person is right, but I try to figure out what their truth is, and this helps me not to engage in meaningless feuds and arguments in an attempt to defend my rightness.
But the radiance cannot be achieved solely through the understanding of the person. Here another parable comes to mind: how the sun and the wind argued about who was stronger. They chose a traveller and decided that the one who would remove his cloak was stronger. The wind blew with all its might, but the traveller wrapped himself even more tightly in his cloak. Before the sun had even reached its zenith, the traveller immediately took off his cloak. That is why the path of the sun, giving warmth, should be preferred by anyone whose purpose is to bring light into the surrounding world.
Dushkova Publishing publishes only light books, similar to yours?
After I composed the first lines, I decided that in my books heroes would always triumph only by Goodness and Love, and not by weapons or by violence. And I wanted to find authors in whose works the positive and life-affirming power rules. Certainly, one can be published in different publishing houses, but I felt it reasonable to create an organization within which the purest and lightest works would be revived and issued, thanks to those people in whose hearts the eternal values dwell.
What are your dreams?
I dream of the day when there will not be any lonely people or abandoned children, and when, regardless of racial, religious, or any other affiliation, we will feel like we are a united family, finding in every newcomer a good friend, brother, or sister.